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Fintech to become mortgage battleground

Australia’s major banks are rushing to find new ways of winning mortgage market share with technology and digital systems.

The big four have revealed their respective plans to harness technology in third-party banking in an effort to drive greater volumes through mortgage brokers.

Widely considered the leader of the pack with its digital offerings, CBA believes technology differentiates it from its competitors in the market.

“We are constantly reviewing opportunities where this can benefit our broker partners,” CBA’s general manager of broker sales Sam Boer said.

“Our CommBroker website is a great example of a ‘one-stop shop’ for brokers providing all the information and forms they need to lodge an application as well as being a portal to lodge online and track,” Mr Boer said.


“In addition, our efforts to digitise mortgage documents will reduce the administrative burden for brokers so they can spend more time providing valuable advice."

CBA was an early adopter of and investor in the electronic conveyancing network PEXA, which remains a key component of its digital strategy.

Speaking ahead of the 10th Annual Loan Origination Excellence event in Sydney in February, CBA general manager of group lending services, Dan O’Neill, said that digitising the loan origination process will benefit the customer, lender and broker, since they can spend more quality time on the customer’s needs rather than explaining their way through a maze of bank and industry forms and processes.

“There are multiple obstacles in Australia to reaching this goal, but that doesn’t mean it’s unachievable,” Mr O’Neill said.

“It just needs the entire industry to move together akin to the digital settlement solution we have all collaborated on with [the electronic conveyancing network] PEXA.


“Moving the home loan industry away from an insistence on ‘wet’ (physically signed) signatures to secure digital signatures is obviously a key obstacle to overcome,” he said.

Meanwhile, NAB has been looking at ways of integrating its digital initiatives into the third-party channel.

Speaking to Mortgage Business, NAB Broker general manager Steve Kane said the group can learn from UBank around the digital space.

“Some of the things we are looking at over the next 12 to 18 months is how do we take benefit from the increased digital interaction by customers and how do we bring brokers into that loop,” Mr Kane said.

“An example might be fixed loans expiring or customer needs we can meet via the broker,” he said.

“We are looking at how that interaction around information transfer works.”

Speaking at a Bloomberg event in Sydney this week, ANZ chief executive Mike Smith said the current era of digitisation is just as significant as the industrial revolution.

“This is another complete tipping point in history, because technology now enables you to do things that would just be impossible previously,” Mr Smith said.

“It’s the pace of change – the way that we now use technology and our expectations of the service are now fundamentally different,” he said.

In November last year, ANZ launched a digital toolkit for brokers with improved functionality and interfaces.

The platform was developed in conjunction with Stargate Group and incorporated feedback from brokers.

“We surprised and pleased the market with our improvements in technology this year,” ANZ’s head of third-party relationship channels Keiran Evans told Mortgage Business.

“We’ve received a positive response to our digital toolkit launched in November and look forward to releasing several enhancements to the toolkit over the coming year,” Mr Evans said.

Other banks have been quick to jump on digital start-ups in the online lending space. 

As a sign of its appetite for innovative online lending solutions, Westpac Bank took an equity stake in Sydney-based peer-to-peer lender SocietyOne in March last year.

Eight months later, Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer pledged to maintain strong shareholder returns by focusing on technology and lifting efficiency.

The lender had since revitalised digital, direct, social media and online broker communications to communicate broadly to more brokers and aggregators.

Fintech to become mortgage battleground

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